We have been in Hungary for a week now and have cycled along the Tisza for the beter part of 200km. Sometimes at some distance, but mostly on the dyke. The dyke is at least 5m high. To the right of the dike are the floodplains of the Tisza, which have been designated a protected nature reserve.
A comfortably flat route through a special area that is sometimes a few tens of metres wide, but sometimes contains entire farmlands (would there be a summer dyke in between?).
The floodplains are often partly flooded (looks foul and makes for lots of mosquitoes). We often see hares and deer (still something magical), white herons, storks in the field and in the air and lots of birds of prey.
Along the road there are regular signs with names of sub-areas and signs explaining flora and fauna.
We don’t dare to say it out loud, but although it is beautiful, after a few days it also gets a bit boring. Our thoughts run: the dyke with its floodplain gives the feeling of a space-for-river-like area (a well known project in Holland). in Szeged, we saw that floods occur on a regular base. in 1876, a large part of the city was lost and since then, higher water levels have been recorded every 20-30 years.
Just when we noted that the embankment seemed less high (upstream, perhaps there is less water and thus less protection needed?) we suddenly came across a couple of very large water works on our way to Tiszafüred. One that can regulate water in two directions with a plaque to honour its designer, Barocs Janos (1826-1905). We just assume he designed the system, as the current construction appears more modern.
The second is a substantial sluice behind which a large reservoir has been created. From the headlines in a Hungarian magazine we found at the campsite, we understand that that lock (and thus the lake that is a major tourist attraction) now exists for 50 years. It has served this area well; for 20km we see (
hundreds of fishing spots with huge tents (toys for the boys with too much money), huge numbers of cottages (whether under construction or not) interspersed with campsites. In Tiszafüred, where we picked a campsite in town in the hope of minimalising the number of mosquitoes – no such luck – everyone also suddenly speaks fluent German and we even see a Dutch-speaking real estate agent/contractor in the marketsquare. Until two days ago we could hardly find anyone who even spoke a word across the border.
According to the campsite owner, only mosquitoes that buzz sting. Whether that is true we cannot perceive. We are covered in bumps and hot food (even cooking alone) leads to so many mosquitoes that you can barely breathe without inhaling them. Our attempts to respect the insect population – guiding spiders, beetles, ants etc. outside as much as possible – have sadly failed here for mosquitoes. We have helped several hundred to the afterlife over the past week.
One advantage of so many bumps: scratching is futile 😁. My father’s adagio ‘Oui, ca pique’ should get us through this. But from tomorrow, we’ll search our luck a bit further uphill.🤞that we’ll also escape the predicted rain that way.
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